TRUDY CRITES…a treasure amongst us
Trudy was born in Germany in 1925 and was 10 years old when Adolf Hitler became dictator of the Nazi party. As a young person Trudy and her brothers were enchanted with Hitler and convinced that Hitler was the answer to all the world’s problems, as did many of their peers. To them he represented a bright populist future, and they had no knowledge of the party’s plan to exterminate the Jewish people. They were kept in ignorance of Hitler’s horrific intentions.
Trudy’s world was shattered one night when, as a young teen, her father and step-mother woke her from her sleep and told her that the family had to flee to Turkey because the authorities had discovered that her father was part Jewish. Trudy felt confused and betrayed by the Nazi Party:
“I had been thoroughly indoctrinated to the Nazi system. On arrival to Turkey my father bought a Swiss newspaper where I found two reports about the past days battles: One about the European allies with Great Brittan at the lead and the other about the great German victories, both in complete conflict. This brought my devotion to Nazism into question.”
Trudy worked with missionaries in Turkey who helped her apply and gain entrance to Berea College in Kentucky. She earnrf enough money to buy ship fare to travel to the United States. She had with her a check for $50 of her own hard-earned money, and little else. She knew no one in the U.S.
“I arrived in Hoboken on a Turkish freighter after a 25-day journey on the high sea, and frequent sea-sickness. I arrived without any family, and without a thorough knowledge of English. No high school preparation whatsoever and only a check for $50. With that money I traveled to Berea, Kentucky where I got a job as a lab tech at Berea College, and was able to attend school at no cost”
Eventually Trudy earned her BA in Biology, and was so successful that she was recruited by Yale where she received a full scholarship to obtain a graduate degree in nursing. After graduating from nursing school Trudy went on to obtain a second graduate degree in Divinity also at Yale but had to leave when she became pregnant with her first child.
Trudy had four daughters and a long career in teaching and community nursing. She has lived a life devoted to social justice and bringing health care to people living in poverty. When her husband was teaching at Wesleyan University the couple would have students and “the Sunday Preacher” over for Sunday dinners. It was this way that Trudy met the late John Maquire and his good friend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Trudy also volunteered for the Peace Corps and continued her nursing in Palestine and Africa. She retired at age 76 and has lived most of her retirement in Brattleboro Vermont, honing her skills as a watercolor painter. Trudy moved to Oregon at age 90 to live with one of her daughters.